Category Archives: Biking

Dropping down to Cordoba

Subbética Greenway Cycletrack

Today I finally left the Sierras behind, dropping down 1800 feet to the beautiful city of Cordoba on the banks of the Guadalquivir river amazing the bridge built by the Romans over 2,100 years ago!

I left the Los Castillarejos Apartamentos Rural late at 10.30, due to writing the previous blog post. Antonio had laid everything out on the huge breakfast table just for me.  I also managed to say goodbye to my new found Dutch friends.

Zuheros  is a gorgeous little town well worth a visit for the scenery & buildings then my route took me on the old olive oil railway line now made into the Via Verde De La Subbetica cycleway before hitting the regular roads again, the amazing thing is the roads are virtually car less so perfect for cycling!  Everything was going well with no sudden departures down rocky slopes, until, a huge stretch of the road CO-3204  nobody had tarmacked 🙁 it was compressed limestone so no ruts but still halved my speed compared to tarmac.

Roman Bridge into Cordoba
Roman Bridge into Cordoba

Finally, I swooped down across The Roman Bridge into Cordoba and its magnificent buildings a true World Heritage Site, especially in today’s crystal clear warm sunshine.

I found the Hospederia del Atalia nestled in an inner courtyard next to the place where I had a giant ice cream 🙂 A beautifully renovated place right in the centre of town. The debate now is whether to stay another night to explore the cathedral/mosque tomorrow or just to ride onto Seville.

Here is the Strava:

and here are the Flickr pics from my Canon, Hopefully, the iPhone pics will get added once the uploader works.

To Cordoba

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Las Navillas to after Luque

Snorelab of my sleep at Las Navillas MM showing, for me, a low snore score.

Mady & Marc at looked after me well at Las Navillas MM. Starting the day with an excellent fruit salad and local cheeses etc also  Marc pumped my tyres up to 100 psi  (first time in two weeks) and also fixed the rear mudguard, although, as he mentioned, down here they don’t ride if it rains 🙂

I left, this time turning right at the bridge and keeping on the tarmac road 🙂 so I was soon cruising through MonteFrio, it looks an excellent place to visit but I really find it hard to get the riding/visiting balance right, I love both so much 🙂 I know Graham & Frances (who I met biking in Taiwan) take twice as long as me to do similar distance trips.

It was a Sunday and so like most religious controlled communities no shops are open and where I was staying didn’t do food plus it isn’t a village.

The roads here are a cyclists heaven lovely tarmac, no rain, very few cars or people the only difficulty, for me, is that all the hills are very long grinds typically over a couple of miles at 8% or so but there are decent descents!

I spent some time watching the olive harvest being processed admiring all the conveyor belts and the locals bringing in their little trailers full of olives still on the stems.

I had a Queso Bocadillo in the garage cafe at Priego de Cordoba and then did a little spin around the town, deserted apart from a queue of tiny tots going into a toy shop.

Eventually, after more hills I reached Luque where the hot chicken shop was open, I didn’t bother going to the bar either as it didn’t look too pleasant either. A short way along the road to Zuheros I reached the Los Castillarejos Apartamentos Rural where a quick call at the gate had Antonio rushing to open up.

 

A big Geoff splash!

WOW what a stunning place the Los Castillarejos Apartamentos Rural is! Amazing views of the valleys around even an infinity pool 🙂 🙂  Antonio said the local equally stunning village of Zuheros had a restaurant so that was the evening food sorted!

 

After a very quick dip in the icy cold pool, I met a Dutch guy who before his 4 stents were fitted was a racing cyclist & journalist, so very interesting to chat too, later he took me down to Zuheros in his coupe 🙂 where I had an excellent meal at Asador Restaurante Los Palancos although it has to be said its more for carnivores although I liked the soup and its presentation.

Today is very much why I love travelling it fulfils my natural curiosity on so many levels 🙂

The days Strava is here:

Flickr pics here:

To Zuhero

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Granada to in the olive fields near MonteFrio

I stayed up late but the only tickets available at 00:01 this morning for the Alhambra were for after midday so I will leave visiting the inside for another trip.

I really didn’t enjoy the  Marquis Urban hotel with it’s ill-designed AC control system that decided at 4 am to start up full blast 🙁 also the breakfast at €9 was a shockingly bad value so I ended up being pleased that I couldn’t stay the second night.

My route out of the city was on cobbled streets & main roads so neither much fun I quickly found another cafe/bar and had myself a decent breakfast for €4.

It took all of 10 miles to leave the city & suburbs.  After 15 miles of steady riding, I started to hit the hills, not as bad as yesterday but a steady  1000 ft of climbing After 21 miles the routing software decided I needed to do a shortcut around Puerto Lope (yes I know) it did this by dropping down a 25% gradient on a stony track through olive orchards 🙁  After 32 miles I noticed the little wooden signs pointing down a track. However, several things came into play here  (1)  I was obsessed with the idea that the accommodation was on the main road (If I read their notes carefully it clearly says it isn’t)
(2) On the booking.com email, it says the name is Lasnavillasmm whereas, in fact, the name is Las Navillas MM as written on the wooden signpost.
(3) The Google maps so quickly recalculates a new route I didn’t notice 🙁

Anyway, I kept biking on the main road until the service station where I managed to find some food, Google then had me do a hairpin left turn past the stone masons and down the roughest steepest track ever 🙁 🙁  my poor wheels… Eventually, after almost 2km I arrived at the tarmac road I should have taken on (2) above. Then it was up a steep concrete road and voila I found MM’s B&B in the Las Navillas valley 🙂

I was met with Mady who gave a very warm welcome complete with Belgian Beer as that is where she and her partner Marc hail from so, once Marc returned from his bike ride, we managed a lovely social evening chatting about long walks and bike adventures. Fortunately, I had pre-booked an evening meal with them as I really couldn’t face riding into MonteFrio in the evening.

I had the best nights sleep on the trip so far so I think the dreaded lurgy has finally been beaten.

Here is my Strava complete with the mistake at the end, do not use!:

Flickr

To Olive Orchards

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Finally in Granada!

I left Hostal El Caminero at just after 8 am the whole town & Hostal deserted, obviously not early morning folks. Eventually, in Los Banos I found an open bar/cafe and managed to get some coffee etc

Sandstone cutting
Limestone Cutting

I was pleased to have fresh legs as it turned out I had a couple of huge hills to ascend the first was 700 feet (I thought that was my climbing done) but alas the main hill called for another 2000 or so feet eventually topping out at Los Blancares 1,297m (4255 feet). Hopefully, this is the last major hill on the way to Lisbon! Once again there were huge cuttings interestingly starting with sandstone but then towards the top limestone. Never fails to set my mind wandering to think all that limestone is made from dead living creatures!

The downhill was pretty good with loads of other decent riders pounding up! Towards the bottom, a very swish rider all in blue came past & for fun I slipstreamed him 🙂 He spoke some English but riding together & chatting is not really possible on the way into Granada.

I found the Marquis Urban hotel OK, however, the bike wouldn’t fit in the lift so I had to carry it up to the second floor. I arrived just before 2 pm so I walked up to the Alhambra complex and wandered around with the hordes, no tickets were available so the innards will have to wait another day.

Weather-wise once again total sunshine & blue skies getting up to 24 degrees in the town 🙂

Strava is here:

Flickr pics:

To Granada

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